A Louis Anquetin painting joins the Van Gogh Museum

1/6/10 – Acquisition – Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum – At the forefront of modern pictorial trends, close to the art of Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh and Gauguin, Louis Anquetin underwent a conservative revolution towards 1894 returning to decorative historical painting influenced by the Old masters. He is less well-known than his fellow artists for the works produced under this stylistic change, which he would pursue until the end of his life.

1. Louis Anquetin (1861-1932)
A Woman on the Champs-Elysées, at Night, c. 1891
Oil on canvas
Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
Photo : Van Gogh Museum

2. Louis Anquetin (1861-1932)
Intimate Conversation, 1891
Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
Photo : Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum has just purchased a canvas by Anquetin, A Woman on the Champs-Elysées, at Night (ill. 1), which can be dated to around 1891, executed before turning to the new, more conservative manner. A quick look shows simply a woman walking down a street with carriages passing in the background. Upon closer inspection but barely visible in the shadows and to the right of the feminine figure, a man with a mustache wearing a top hat can be seen looking at her in an unmistakable way, thus slightly transforming the sense of the composition. This masterpiece, both by its subject and style, can be compared in many ways to some of Toulouse-Lautrec’s paintings.
We would like to point out that in 2007 the Van Gogh Museum had already acquired a watercolour by Anquetin which is exactly contemporary to this one (1891) and with a similar iconography, Intimate Conversation (ill. 2).

Didier Rykner, mardi 1er juin 2010

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